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Paradise Lost Contrasting Styles

In the excerpts from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the reader can see the various elements of style Milton uses to achieve two different effects. His diction produces a brutal tone in Passage A, while painting an idyllic picture in Passage B. Milton’s sentence structure supports his diction. The syntax of Passage A is sharp, while Passage B’s is more flowing. Figurative language, especially conceit, is pervasive throughout both passages, and the poetic devices – mainly hyperbole – add to the overall effect of the passages. The two passages influence the reader, persuading him to believe that war or hostility is bad and beauty is good, no matter what the situation.Milton’s diction, or word choice, in the two excerpts is essential in producing his desired effect. In Passage A, Milton wants to portray the idea that war and conflict are bad; many of his words show the ferocity of confrontation. For example, in the first line he makes known the “adverse” and “hideous … shock” of war. Later, he describes the “horrible discord” of the event in line 5. Similarly, the diction of Passage B establishes the almost heavenly qualities of the Garden. The “cloud of fragrance” (line 29) in which Eve stands is a reflection of the beauty which envelops her. Milton also describes Eve as the “fair virgin” in line 43, thus extending the idea of heaven on earth through Eve’s purity. While Milton’s choice of words helps communicate his ideas, the structure of that language furthers his points in both passages. Passage A utilizes (relatively) short sentences that get right to the point. Sentences such as “dire was the noise / Of conflict” and “All Heaven / Resounded, and, had Earth been there, all Earth / Had to her centre shook” from lines 6-7 and 12-14, respectively, waste no time in presenting the reader wit...

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